- Kids’ brains are more receptive to foreign language sounds the younger they are.
- Kids thinking that learning a new language is fun is inversely proportional to their age.
- Many TV shows, games and apps that teach foreign languages are geared for young kids, or adults but it’s much harder to find for tweens! Read more…
All posts in Teaching Kids Foreign Languages at Home
I’m trying to get back in the swing with Foreign Language exposure again this year. We fell off the wagon last year. We lost our Spanish tutor due to scheduling conflicts and commute distance and we could not squeeze in Chinese with the soccer schedule. Grasshopper and Sensei took Chinese in Middle School again (year 2) and PickyKidPix did a few months of classes with a new Spanish tutor whom she really liked. Not optimal but it was the best we could do. PickyKidPix will be taking Spanish this fall in Middle School.
My 8-year-old son did nothing and, as a result, promptly forgot every word of Spanish and Chinese he ever knew. Seriously. I asked him to translate a few colors in Spanish — it came up but I don’t remember why — and he got 100% of them incorrect. Easy ones too, like verde (green) and azul (blue) which he used to know because they are his favorite colors.
Ah well. What can you do? It goes in and it goes, just as quickly as the moving tide, back out again.
When Little Seas emailed me with their Colita Rosita videos, I thought music to get my kids exposed to Spanish is not a bad idea. Ease them in gently. But then I had trouble translating the music so I asked for lyrics. And I also needed them in English. I don’t love animated computer graphics in picture books but I’m ok with them for Spanish language videos for kids. Read more…
I use these sites to reinforce Foreign Language curriculum that we either do at home using a tutor or to help my child in middle school who is studying a foreign language. Hope these foreign language for kids online sites help!
Teach Kids Chinese Through Songs
When my kids were younger, I found that Spanish Sesame Street, Plaza Sesamo, entertained my kids while also teaching them Spanish. Songs were also an effective and pleasant way to expose my kids to foreign languages. As my kids got older — 2nd or 3rd grade — they rebelled and no longer would allow Plaza Sesamo DVDs in the car. They preferred silence. Ditto to foreign language CDs.
My point is that there is a window when kids are open to learning foreign languages. Both their brains and attitudes are receptive. As they grow older, not only do they not want to learn, but also making the sounds are more challenging.
I was excited to discover that Sesame Street is now in Chinese with a series geared for teaching kids Mandarin. For a CD of fun songs to accompany your Chinese language experience, try A Little Mandarin by NYC mom Toni Wang.
I’m not saying that this combination will have your kids conversing in Mandarin, but you are laying a foundation both for training their ear and for exposing them to the concept of non-word for word translation. Who knows? This might be the introduction that makes them actually want to learn Chinese when they are older. I’m still shocked that both of my girls are choosing to learn Mandarin as their mandatory foreign language in middle school!
How about you? Are your kids getting exposure to foreign languages? How do you manage this? Please share your tips!!! Read more…
International Student Volunteer Opportunities
Please welcome my guest author, Elizabeth Leonard, founder of Blue Bridge Project. Her organization helps high school students get placed in international hands-on service projects to help them with future endeavors like getting into the college of their dreams. Read more…
Chinese Writing and Language Is Fun and Easy
I found this great site, MemRise, that has language instruction for Mandarin Chinese, French, Spanish and Italian. I checked out the online Mandarin Chinese site because my kids are learning it and I had just enough Chinese lessons as a kid to know how difficult it is. Read more…
Teaching Kids Sign Language
PickyKidPix has been learning sign language in class because there is a child who is hard of hearing. He’s been her classmate for three years now and it’s amazing to me how much sign language she’s picked up from just first grade, 2nd and 3rd grade. I asked her if she uses it and she says that she will sign with that boy even though his also has Cochlear implants. Sometimes signing is just less disruptive. Read more…
Easy and Fun Ways to Teach Kids Spanish and Chinese
I find that learning a foreign language is very similar to dieting. Changing my family’s lifestyle was key to successfully incorporating foreign language into my children’s hearts and minds. Like dieting, crash diets (a.k.a. immersion) is wonderful in jump-starting foreign language acquisition however, without proper maintenance, it’s back to square one. Again like dieting, there are times when I notice that great strides are being made, but there are also discouraging plateaus in which it seems like my children seem to be forgetting large chucks of what they used to know. Fear not, just like the tortoise and the hare, perseverance will eventually win the race.